The reality show 19 Kids and Counting feature a family who live a very conservative lifestyle. Because of that, they have some very specific rules about how they act, dress and speak, as well as guidelines about relationships and dating (or as they call it “courting”).
Some of those rules seem far-fetched. For example, the Duggars don’t allow any kind of physical contact between couples until after they’re married. That even means no kissing. In fact, couples must have a chaperone on all dates up until the wedding day. And couples can’t text each other without copying that text to one of their parents.
The family also has specific rules about other things. Girls are not allowed to wear shorts or short skirts. Women are expected to dress “modestly,” and not show a lot of skin. No one in the family can drink alcohol or read books considered racy (there goes 50 Shades of Grey). They’re also stuck in the world of Footloose: there is absolutely no dancing.
Here’s the thing, though: the Duggars don’t always live up to the rules they set for themselves.
So here are 15 Times The Duggars Broke Their Own Rules.
15. Jill Duggar’s birth control
The Duggar children often rebel against their family rules, especially after they get married and leave the nest. The Duggars have a very strict rule about birth control: it simply is not allowed (which explains the title of the show 19 Kids and Counting). Jill Duggar and her husband, though, probably used some form of birth control in 2016, though, although the reasoning behind it might give her a pass when it comes to breaking family rules. The couple traveled to El Salvador to do some missionary work there. But that was during the Zika virus outbreak. The CDC warned about pregnant women traveling to the area because the virus could cause birth defects. So it’s likely that they used birth control for that reason, although if they did, they still broke one of the main family rules.
14. Unsafe Firearm Use
The Duggars are a gun-toting family, but they always claim that they are very protective of their guns and that gun safety always comes first. That means that they claim that guns stay locked up where their children cannot get to them (in spite of posting photos of their children with guns).
When the family recently took a vacation in Texas, though, they shared a photo that depicted 5-year-old Josie playing behind them with a gun just sitting unattended in the grass in front of her. The older children are fishing and not paying attention and it’s probably fortunate that Josie did not get her hands on the weapon. Nonetheless, the picture shows that the family didn’t do something they claimed to always do: keep guns safely away from their children.
13. Joy-Anna pregnant before marriage
For those not familiar with the Duggar rules of courtship: they are very strict. None of the Duggar children are allowed to go on dates or even text or do anything without having a chaperone present. They even have strict rules about physical contact: no frontal contact is allowed: couples can only touch at the side. And kissing is completely out of the question.
That obviously means that premarital sex is also on the forbidden list. But recent inquiries about Joy-Anna’s pregnancy wonder if perhaps she was pregnant before she got married. Although Joy-Anna posted a photo with a claim that she is only 18 weeks pregnant (with conception occurring after her wedding), her large baby bump suggests that she’s much further along.
12. Joseph Duggar traveled with his girlfriend – without a chaperone
The Duggars rules about “courting” include having chaperones for all couples activities. No couple in the family can ever go anywhere alone. But consider that as another rule broken, because the family allowed Joseph and his girlfriend, Kendra Caldwell, to go to Panama without a chaperone present earlier this year.
As this was a missionary trip, many believe this rule got broken because the family wanted to try to distract the public from his latest scandal. Others suggest that because Joseph was a man, his family didn’t think it as important to chaperone him. Whatever the case, if Kendra and Joseph end up in the same situation as Joy-Anna and Austin, we can expect a repeat of the past.
11. Derick Dillard got caught dancing
It might sound like something out of an ’80s movie, but the Duggars actually do not allow any non-religious music in their house. They also do not allow dancing, because dancing is, apparently, of the devil. That didn’t stop Derick Dillard from partying down one night earlier this year, though.
He posted a video of himself dancing with a group of men around a bonfire at a party that looked kind of wild. Considering that his mother refers to dancing as something that promotes drugs and sex, fans quickly pointed out the violation of the family rules. Derick also posted a clip of him dancing to a provocative song (although he quickly deleted it). He tried to cover up his violation, though, by posting a Bible verse on adultery.
10. Jinger and Jeremy broke courtship rules
Although Jinger isn’t one of the most rebellious children of the Duggar family, she recently started pushing back against some of the more conservative rules, particularly those involving dating. The Duggar courtship process is strict and doesn’t allow for much wiggle room, which means that most couples on the show end up getting quite frustrated. When two people are in love, touching is just something they want to do.
It seems that the Duggar family couldn’t stop Jinger from being a little too hands-on with her boyfriend. When asked about breaking courtship rules, though, Jinger was coy, but suggested that maybe she broke a rule or two. Of course, that doesn’t mean much: when the rules even outlaw kissing and hugging, Jinger probably didn’t do anything too scandalous.
9. Jinger wore shorts
In the Duggar family, there is a high expectation that women will dress a certain way. That means that women must remain pretty well covered at all times, showing the least amount of skin as possible. The women in the family mostly wear skirts, but the key point is that they keep all their bits and pieces covered and leave nothing to the imagination.
So imagine how scandalous it was when Jinger posted a photo of herself on Instagram in a pair of shorts. They’re hardly short-shorts, but they are still very much shorts, and so her mother Michelle would likely not approve.
“They’ve grown up being dressed modestly, and in clothes that are definitely more feminine apparel,” her mother wrote on a blog. “I’ve told my daughters this has been a joyful journey for me to learn what my Lord has called me to.”
8. Josh Duggar’s inappropriate jokes
Not only did Josh Duggar get accused by four of his sisters and another young girl of touching them inappropriately, but a video surfaced of him actually joking around about incest. In the video, he laughs off the comment about having a double date with his sisters and then says “Well, we are from Arkansas.”
This video might seem innocent, but considering the charges filed against him, it certainly caused a stir and now just seems creepy. This video wasn’t a private one either, but from an earlier episode of 19 Kids and Counting. Perhaps it was just a sneak peek into what was really going on with that family. All of Josh’s scandals, though, eventually added up and the series got canceled in 2015.
7. Jessa Seewald often spoke to Ben without a chaperone
There is another Duggar daughter who seemed determined to break at least some of the family’s conservative courtship rules. When Jessa Duggar began dating her boyfriend Ben Seeward, the two often had more private conversations than the family would have liked. Although it seems harmless, the Duggars do not allow any contact between couples without a chaperone. But Jessa and Ben had other plans.
Jessa admitted that they would often talk on the phone without a chaperone, although their conversations weren’t anything scandalous. The two often slipped up and got caught on camera engaging in holding hands and a full frontal hug. Yes, those things are also forbidden in the Duggar family until after marriage. Jessa and Ben did eventually marry, though, so it all worked out in the end.
6. Amy Duggar wore a bikini
Since the show stopped airing, it’s Amy Duggar who seems to break more of the family rules than any of the other kids, save for Josh. She seems to have embraced a secular lifestyle and did the absolute Duggar unthinkable: she posed for a photo with her husband in a bikini on Instagram.
Her mother must have been seething at that, considering her take on why women must dress conservatively.
Amy posted the photos while she and her husband were on their honeymoon in Cancun. “It’s a relief,” she told ET. “It feels like the stress is gone. I don’t have to be perfect anymore. I don’t have to worry about wearing long skirts. And I got to marry my best friend!”
5. Amy didn’t wait until marriage
Another thing that Amy did that completely broke the Duggar rules is that she had sex before she got married. Such a rebel! Amy admitted that she was not a virgin when she married her husband to People, explaining that she didn’t really believe in the rules set out by her family. Interestingly enough, though, she did state that she and her husband did wait to have sex before marriage, but she also said, “I don’t feel guilty for being me.”
Amy was actually born out of wedlock herself, although her mother insisted she take the Duggar name when she married into that family. But Amy continued to have a relationship with her real father, who she says allowed her to listen to secular music.
4. Amy and Dillon got tattoos
The wild child Amy Duggar does not disappoint when it comes to breaking the Duggar rules. Since she got married, she has embraced a freedom that she did not know growing up in her family’s household. That means that she’s doing everything she can to enjoy her new life, including opening up about not being a virgin on her wedding day and wearing bikinis.
Amy also did something also very non-Duggar: she and her husband got matching tattoos that say “rest in the storm.” Amy still adheres to her Christian faith, but, apparently, she doesn’t feel that her family’s conservative lifestyle is for her. “Our tat is a reminder that even when our relationship, and life in general may be be going through a storm, there’s always rest and peace in God through our walk in life,” Amy said to People
3. Josh Duggar admitted to a “video” addiction
Every family has at least one black sheep. In the case of the Duggar family, Josh Duggar is probably the person holding that title, thanks to his inability to stay out of scandalous headlines in the media.
In 2015, Josh admitted that he had a porn addiction and posted about it on the Duggar family website: “While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing [adult films] on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife.”
He admitted that he did this while “fighting against immorality in our country” and went on to call himself “the biggest hypocrite ever” after confessing to having an account with the Ashley Madison online dating service.
2. Josh Duggar investigated for abuse
Josh Duggar seems to find it hard to stay out of the headlines. Usually, it’s for something he did that didn’t just break the family rules, but also actual laws, as well as basic moral standards.
In 2015, Josh faced charges of abuse. Five young girls came out to accuse Josh of assaulting them, with four of those five being his sisters, with the claim that it began as early as 2002. The allegations were so bad that his own father ended up turning him in. Josh met with church leaders, who agreed that he needed to go to a treatment program for sex addiction.
1. Josh Duggar admitted to cheating on his wife
Josh Duggar is probably the main reason that 19 Kids and Counting got canceled, thanks to all his various scandals. Not only did he admit that he had an addiction to adult films, but he also got accused of molesting five girls, which resulted in him seeking treatment for sex addiction. That treatment, though, apparently didn’t work very well, because Josh continues to get caught up in sex scandals.
While admitting to the porn addiction, Josh also fessed up about having an account with Ashley Madison, an online dating service for married people.
“I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him,” he said in an official statement after the news broke.
What other rules have the Duggars broken? Let us know in the comments!
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